Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘politics

Talking Politics

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Really, I’m going to talk politics, after I only just said that I don’t have a political agenda?

Power to the purr-ple

Yes, I’m contrary like that.  Anyway, I’m not really talking politics, but talking about how we talk about politics, or don’t.

You see, Spectrummy Daddy and I can’t talk about politics at work.  Under the Hatch Act, we are expressly prohibited from sharing our political preferences.  This makes a lot of sense.  More than most people, the government decides our work and where we live, so we might feel strongly about one form of government or another.  But we go to work no matter who the President is, and support United States Government interests no matter who is running the show.

This election season has certainly been heated.  In a sense, it is good to see that people feel so strongly about their civic duties.  I, for one, have grown a little tired of just how heated things have become, but Spectrummy Daddy pointed out the ways in which listening to other perspectives can only be a good thing.

Embassies and Consulates around the world celebrate democracy by holding Election Night parties, or due to the time difference in our case, an Election Breakfast.  There was truly a buzz of excitement from our South African guests at our event.  In this country, where there has been 46 political killings in the last two years, it is even more important to reflect the stability of a peaceful democracy.

I was musing this over yesterday evening, and I thought about how we hadn’t really talked to our children about politics.  Obviously, they’re both very young, but they are ambassadors too, and one day they’ll also be voting citizens of the world.  They will have to learn the meaning behind the rhetoric.  They’ll have to learn to speak up for themselves, and for those who don’t have a voice.

They are also little sponges, and I was interested to see how much they’d absorbed of our world these last few days.

So I asked Cubby who he would vote for President: Romney or Obama?

Steve.  (I assume he means Steve Rogers aka Captain America– the only person he thinks should be running the country.  After all, who would uphold American ideals better than his idol?

I asked Pudding the same question, and if you can’t guess her response, you’ve obviously never been here before.

Hello Kitty.

In fairness, it wasn’t as absurd a response as you might expect.  Hello Kitty was indeed running an election campaign for the Friendship Party.

Maybe they are learning something after all.  They don’t sacrifice their ideals for the sake of the popular vote.

I have to hand it to both kids- they at least vote in their own interests.

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The Personal is Political

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The State Department (my husband’s employer) actually used to rate the conduct of the spouse’s behaviour as part of the officer’s evaluation. That doesn’t happen any more, to my husband’s great relief, I imagine. So I can say what I want on my own personal blog, if I choose to. And when we are overseas entertaining, I could, in theory, speak my mind, but I don’t….always. You don’t need to go to many official events before you realize that the topics of politics and religion are best avoided outside of close company. See, Spectrummy Daddy didn’t make such an awful mistake in his choice of wife, now did he?

So while I could, on my personal blog, talk about these thorny issues, I choose not to. It isn’t that kind of blog. Those who know me privately know where I stand. My intention is not to divide, it is to tell you all about the girl I refer to as Pudding. Pudding doesn’t care who you voted for, or which god you pray to, or if you don’t at all. I hope that is something she doesn’t grow out of. That she will continue to see through to the juicy human goodness underneath our opinions and beliefs. The things that unite us, rather than divide us. It is one of the many wonderful things about her. I might have autism to thank for that. After all, it doesn’t tend to discriminate either.

But sometimes, politics seeps in. It seeps in when politicians put air quotes around the word autism, as though we’re all imagining it. Parents, teachers, therapists, doctors, all involved in a mass hallucination. It permeates when votes are cast as to whether or not her medically diagnosed condition is covered by health insurance. Health insurance that we pay for. For a condition that was diagnosed by medical professionals. Words fail me.

When I started this blog, I wanted to show people what autism means to us. Pudding is comparatively lightly touched by autism. Her type is certainly not as disabling as it is for some of her classmates, whose daily struggles far outweigh those she faces. Nonetheless, she requires a lot of support, a lot of intervention in these critical early years to develop the tools to let her function as independently as possible in the future. She needs therapies and services that she yet to receive in the 18 months since she was diagnosed. We can’t afford them. Our insurance won’t cover them. Decisions are made by those whose lives are far divorced from the struggles of the many families like us. The personal is political.

And sometimes the political becomes personal. I read this yesterday, realizing part way through that Brian, my husband’s friend from college, is referring to our family. I’m glad that we have talked about some of these issues with our friends. I’m glad that minds are changing, even if it is just one at a time.

Today the bill for autism coverage in Virginia will be debated. The bill is very modest compared to those already passed in many other states. It will only cover children aged 2-6. We’ll have moved anyway by the time it comes into effect. But this could make all the difference to Pudding’s classmates and their families. No matter what their religion, I’m pretty sure they’re praying for politicians to do the right thing today. I know I am.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 8, 2011 at 6:54 am